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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Feds and Quebec Hold Two Provinces Hostage

The Liberal government of Ontario has admitted today that plans to shut down all of Ontario's coal-fired generators by 2007 will not be achievable. Energy Minister Dwight Duncan warned that Ontario would not be able to close all its coal plants if it could not find enough new generating capacity to replace them.

This news comes on the heals of a press release yesterday in which the Ontario Medical Association stated that air pollution is expected to kill 5,800 people prematurely in Ontario this year and that this toll could spike to 10,000 a year in the next two decades if the province does not take drastic measures to curb it.

The shut down of Ontario’s coal fired generating plants is intended to provide half of Ontario’s greenhouse-gas-reduction contributions under the Kyoto Protocol and help ensure the health of the province’s citizens. Currently Ontario is suffering under extreme smog conditions caused in part by emissions from its coal fired plants.

Meanwhile, here in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, we have huge hydroelectric generating capacity at Lower Churchill Falls. This power project, which could supply much of Ontario’s needs, has been held up for decades due to the stubbornness of Quebec. Quebec has always insisted on what amounts to a ransom demand in order for Newfoundland and Labrador to wheel electrical power through the province.

Currently the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador is reviewing expressions of interest in the development of this project which were submitted earlier this year. One of these was a joint submission by Ontario and Quebec Hydro.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is weighing all the options carefully to ensure that it is not pulled into a one sided deal like the one currently in place on the Upper Churchill plant. The existing contract sees Quebec reaping record profits while the owner of the resource, Newfoundland and Labrador receives a pittance by comparison.

It has always been a mystery to me why the Federal Government has never stepped up to opening a power, gas and oil corridor across the country. This would ensure that provinces could market resources within the Country to any area that might need it. It would also ensure that one province could not hold another ransom by restricting their ability to bring resources to market.

As things stand, Ontario is desperate for clean power, Newfoundland and Labrador has clean power to spare that it would love to market and Quebec sits geographically between the two preventing anyone from getting what they want.

All of this would not be an issue if a national corridor were opened up. This would prevent provinces like Quebec from profiting obscenely at the expense of its fellow provinces. Provinces like Ontario who's citizens are dying by the thousands in smog infested cities or provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, the poorest in Canada, which is struggling under massive debt while desperately trying to increase revenues and lower unemployment.

5 comments:

True Newfoundlander said...

The feds are too afraid of separatists in Quebec to force a corridor across the province.

I agree with Premier Williams. Let the resources stay where they are until we get the deal we deserve and in 2041 (I think thats the year), There will be no more givaway of power at the upper churchill. We will see plenty of money rolling in and to hell with Quebec.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Quebec leave, Literally. By that I mean land and all. Get out of our way and let us become a real part of the country.

Ohhhh, to wish is devine.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until Ontario desperatly needs power from the Lower Churchill, and they come to NL begging. And I almost wish they have to beg until 2041, or until the Upper Churchil deal expires, so that Quebec can join them on their knees.

Dress the skelletons in the closet, dear, were all going mummering on Sussex Drive!

Anonymous said...

Todd from the west coast

Not one watt should leave until the Upper Churchill farce is reopened.

The federal government should force the reopening of the upper Churchill contract for Ontario's benefit, and the benefit of all canadians.

Back in the 60's the federal government let Alberta put an energy corridor all the way down to Ontario, but they won't help NL. We only want to cross one province whereas the AB corridor crossed three provinces.

Free Newfoundland Labrador

Anonymous said...

I am a true Labradorian and I am against the Lower churchil. we have the island complaining because it will make quebec rich and quebec this and that. Any way I see it is Labrador will get nothing because it will go to quebec or to Newfoundland. As for the Free Newfoundland and Labrador. If newfoundland wants to go like quebec then good bye. leave Labrador to be on its own and become a province or territory in Canada. then we will reap the profit from our resources and not everyone else. It is bad in our own province they wont recognice our flag or anthem. all they want is the resources.